5 Ways to Ensure Positive Communication in the Workplace

By Bree Leathers on September 14th, September  

It’s the day after you completed an enormous project, a project that took you days to no sleep – a project that you put your heart and soul into, you are proud of what you’ve accomplished and you’ve actually surprised yourself. Before leaving work last night, you sent the final product to your manager. You expressed how thrilled you were that it was completed and of how happy you were with the end result. 

You walk into work, proud as punch and you’re early today! You cannot wait to see the feedback from your manager. You open your emails. One new email – this is it. Recognition for my hard work!!!

“I have received your final proof, you could have focussed more on this topic – for the time you spent on this project, it could have been produced better, see me when you get in” 

Boom – your day is ruined, your soul is crushed… you are ready to pack your back and go home. 

We have all had those days. Do you remember standing in the playground at school, facing a bully after they have said something horrible and you replied bravely with “stick and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”? .. how many times did you go home and cry to your mum? The fact is, words hurt. Times have certainly not changed and they mean something even within a professional setting. The way in which we approach a situation or the language that we use to connect with someone will have an impact on the receiver, whether it be positive or negative. 

When we receive positive communication from others, our brains release dopamine – which is a feel good chemical! This provides a sense of elation and increases adrenaline which makes us feel very confident and positive about given situations. 

When we receive negative communication from others, our brain releases a chemical called cortisol. This chemical is released when we experience uncomfortable situations or feel under threat. The purpose of cortisol is to alert us to situations which we need to remove ourselves from and in turn, we become stressed, anxious and our heart rates rise. 

So, how do we ensure positive communication in the workplace? 

Frame Up! 

The most important point to take from this article would be the language that we use and the tone that we speak in. Today, I was speaking with my Operations Manager and asked for some examples of phrases that she could think of that could be worded differently. She turned around, with her firm voice and said: “We cannot keep doing it this way” – my face went white until I realised she was giving me an example. She then smiled, sat back into her seat and said “There must be a better way to do this, are you as frustrated as I am?” and I breathed a sigh of relief. 

Every word can be replaced with another. All negative words can be changed to another, which would change how somebody receives a message. 

Pause. Don’t Rush: 

I am a big believer in processing. Have you ever sent an email or said something reactionary to then regret it once you’ve had time to process and think of the situation? Humans are always rushing, rushing to say the thing, do things, finish things and achieve things. But when does rushing ever benefit us? 

If you are having an uncomfortable conversation, or you know that you’re not feeling too happy about a situation. STOP. Breathe and think of the point you would like to communicate and the right way to convey your message. 

In a conversation, silence is acceptable. Silence gives you a moment to think and really understand what someone else is trying to say. Sometimes just that tiny break, giving you time to think, is just what you need to really understand what someone else has said or to formulate the thoughts you really want to convey. 

Non-verbal: 

Interpersonal communication is much more than the explicit meaning of words, the information or message conveyed. It also includes implicit messages, whether intentional or not, which are expressed through non-verbal behaviors. 

Non-verbal communications include facial expressions, the tone, and pitch of the voice, gestures displayed through body language and the physical distance between the communicators.

These non-verbal signals can give clues and additional information and meaning over and above spoken communication 

Non-verbal Messages Allow People to: 

• Reinforce or modify what is said in words. For example, people may nod their heads vigorously when saying "Yes" to emphasise that they agree with the other person, but a shrug of the shoulders and a sad expression when saying "I'm fine thanks,” may imply that things are not really fine at all! 

Convey information about their emotional state. 

Define or reinforce the relationship between people. 

Provide feedback to the other person. 

Regulate the flow of communication, for example by signaling to others that they have finished speaking or wish to say something. 

Stop, Listen: 

We often don’t listen to people to understand and appreciate, but to respond and give our own opinions. Have you ever had a conversation with someone and an idea has popped into your head, so you’ve either cut them off or you’ve started speaking as soon as they finish their last word?

Too often we're not really trying to understand what others are saying but instead are trying to find a way to jump from their points to our own. Next time you're communicating, do what you can to really work on understanding what others are saying.

Be Patient

Communication, even the easiest of communication, can be tough at times, which is why it's so very important to be both patient and open-minded in your interactions with others. Recognise that you might not necessarily be communicating as effectively as you'd like and remember to also be patient with yourself. No matter what the situation, there is a way to communicate -sometimes it just takes time. Be patient and keep your mind open to new ways of sharing and understanding.

How else do you ensure positive communication within the workplace? On the receiving end, it is crucial that you stop, take a minute and process what someone is trying to say. You may be taking something very different to how someone is communicating with you. As a society, we need to be able to appreciate that not everybody communicates the same.

If you are feeling that positive communication may be a weakness in your workplace, we can support you. Did you know that WhiteCollarBlue works closely with SME’s to improve leadership development, to assist with employee counseling and performance management?

With a team of Qualified HR Practitioners at the ready, WhiteCollarBlue is in a position to work closely with you to evaluate your business culture. Our HR Practitioners can give qualified, unbiased and beneficial advice to you. Our HR Practitioners will work closely with you to ensure that your goals are accomplished. We understand that without the right team and talent, achieving your business goals could seem like a stretch.

With the recent launch of our HR Services, we are excited to offer our readers a complimentary Business Healthcheck. In this Business Healthcheck, you will gain the full attention of a qualified HR Practitioner to come in, assess a particular area or multiple areas of your business and then work with you to turn these struggles into strengths. These changes could improve your bottom line. 

There are no negatives to booking your complimentary Business Healthcheck. To take advantage of this offer and to find out more about our services, give WhiteCollarBlue a call today and mention this blog post.

Our Specialists would be more than happy to assist you in your business and HR needs.

Bree Leathers, Marketing Coordinator at WhiteCollarBlue